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Jules Massenet

Jules Massenet

  • May 12, 1842 Montaud, France - August 13, 1912 Paris, France


Massenet, a master of French opera, began music at an early age with his mother before studying with Ambroise Thomas at the Paris Conservatory in 1861. Awarded the Prix de Rome in 1863, he settled for two years at the Villa Medici where he met Liszt and sketched his future works. His triumphant career began with his oratorio Marie-Magdeleine (1873) sung by the great Pauline Viardot. Aged thirty-six, he was the youngest composer ever to be named “Official composer” and elected as a member of the Académie des Beaux Arts, to the exclusion of Saint-Saëns, well before having composed his greatest works. Decorated with the Légion d’Honneur, holding the composition chair at the conservatoire, Massenet was highly respected. Alfred Brueau, Gabriel Pierné and Florent Schmitt would figure among his pupils.

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